The annual Advanced World customer conference and exhibition was held this year on 5th March at the ICC in Birmingham. The event was another great success, bringing together over 1250 of our customers from a wide range of organisations and businesses, plus over 1,500 attended via a live stream. This year the event included 76 breakout sessions covering Advanced’s latest product developments, industry trends and customer case studies.
Keynote speakers included Natasha Kaplinsky OBE, Broadcaster & Journalist, Gordon Wilson, CEO, Advanced and Dr Daniel Susskind, Author & Economist.
Gordon Wilson shared an inspiring vision of “Future Possibilities”. He explained how we are all on an essential journey full of possibilities that we need to embrace in order to succeed. Charting the journey IT has made from PCs and Aps, to client based servers, the internet and presently the Cloud. He explained this journey is set to continue with more businesses adopting cloud based solutions in the future. Supporting this Gordon quoted Gardner’s survey findings that cloud software services growth is set to exceed IT services spend by three times.
In his speech Gordon explained that the role of Advanced is to provide software and services to set businesses up with tools for success, to enable them to improve productivity and to stop working in silos. He announced the launch of MyWorkplace. This is Advanced’s unified ecosystem for Advanced and partner products. He went on to say how it is the first truly integrated business platform in the UK and will be transformative for the business software market. It is based on three key principles - a consistent look and feel for the user, a single sign-on to all services and central and unified data for one version of the truth.
The Field Service Management work stream at Advanced World included breakout sessions covering product roadmap updates for Siclops, Dynamic Resource Scheduler (DRS), Job Manager, Work Hub and InfoSuite. The sessions brought together ﬁeld service professionals to share best practice and to discuss the latest challenges facing organisations that provide field based services.
During the packed Dynamic Resource Scheduler (DRS) session a panel consisted of product experts who shared the key benefits of the market leading scheduling solution, together with the new features that will be launched with DRS 6. Katie Evans, Senior Product Owner for DRS detailed the new features for V6 that included a new user interface with improved usability and navigation, improved mapping features and increased configurability of screens for administrators.
News of the new Operative on Way module was shared. The new module will enable organisations to reduce no-access rates and the associated costs. It will also improve customer satisfaction with better communication around the visibility of the operative assigned to their case.
Paul Saunders, Business Development Director presented the Work Hub and Job Manager session, sharing the latest capabilities in the upcoming releases of the mobile and workforce management products. Paul explained how together, the products are enabling our customers to address the need for ongoing innovation to improve internal processes, efficiency and customer experience. Paul shared some exciting new features for Work Hub that included enhanced Job Costing, Job Charging, Client Invoicing, Profit and Loss and Financial Management System interfaces for invoicing.
The Field Service Management stream rounded the day off with a panel session discussing The Future of Field Service. The panel answered a wide range of questions from the audience and covered topics and trends affecting organisations in the field service sector.
Nathan Ollier, General Manager for Field Service at Advanced started the discussion stating how the cloud strategy, as outlined in Gordon Wilson’s keynote session, was a key direction of travel for the Advanced business as a whole, including field service. We are seeing our customers starting to embrace cloud strategies of their own and cloud is forming a key component of our forward plans across the product range.
It is an exciting time in the field service management space. We have seen the well-known players expanding their offerings, whether through acquisition, or building out their propositions to allow them to offer end to end solutions where they might otherwise have relied on partners. Advanced are no different. Our partner model is incredibly important to us and we will continue to work with our partners to offer the solutions which support the operations of many of our customers. The developments amongst the providers are certainly set to provide more flexibility and choice for customers coming to market.
John Owens, Pre-Sales Consultant for InfoSuite and the panel discussed the adoption of A.I. in field service. Potentially A.I. could help predict the cost or items required for a job as well as the scheduling required. It could ultimately become a predictive maintenance solution, that enables organisations to get involved before a problem or issue occurs.
The panel discussed the potential future possibility to link DRS with Advanced HR software using A.I to decide if annual leave is viable before it is agreed with the operative. Predictive resource planning would enable intelligent decision making regarding the approval of annual leave.
Customer expectations was cited as a key trend for field service management, including social housing providers. The increase in expectations was linked to customer experiences from other industries such as retail and travel. What was once deemed to be not attainable is now expected, such as same day customer appointments. It was explained that the new Operative on Way module, was born out of market requirements to meet these increased customer expectations.
To find out more about Advanced’s Field Service Management solutions take a look at our website.
Next year’s Advanced World takes place on 4 March 2021, at the ICC in Birmingham.